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Established in the mid-90s, the idea of the virtual office came about to give businesses the opportunity to give companies the amenities and perks of a physical office while significantly cutting the costs required to operate a physical office. The idea of a virtual office is particularly attractive to startups and smaller businesses in need of more flexibility in their office space, without losing the opportunity to make a name for themselves in prestigious and highly attractive locations.
Just as with physical offices, businesses sign a lease of a length of their choosing for their virtual office. Once the lease has been signed, companies are given a local address in one location, while their staff works remotely towns or even states away. Along with a local address, virtual offices also provide companies with a local telephone number, access to offices and meeting rooms as needed, mail forwarding services, and more.
Benefits of a Virtual Office
There is great appeal for virtual offices for a number of reasons. Benefits of virtual offices include:
Local Brand Recognition.
For businesses hoping to break into a new and unfamiliar market, the idea of signing a pricey, long-term lease can be scary. With a virtual office, companies have the opportunity to build their brand and name recognition in a new city before investing in a local office space and hiring local staff. Further, clients are likely to be more comfortable working with a company that has a local address and phone number, giving them peace of mind that they can contact or meet with a member of staff easily.
One of the most attractive benefits of establishing a virtual office is the lower cost to run and operate the workplace. A traditional office space requires companies to pay for cleaning services, maintenance, utilities, security, and more. Virtual offices, on the other hand, simply require businesses to pay affordable membership fees that cover the wide range of amenities needed to maintain the space.
For startups and small businesses hoping to grow in more prestigious locations, signing a long term lease is not ideal given higher costs. Virtual offices allow flexible, customized plans to fit the specific needs of the company. Whether a business is looking for a month-to-month arrangement with basic services or longer-term commitments with a broader suite of amenities, virtual offices make it easy to tailor workplace solutions.
Not only do virtual offices offer a local address and phone number, but they also provide businesses with offerings including telephone answering by a local receptionist, mail forwarding of mail and packages received at the virtual office address, and offices and conference rooms for staff to use when they are in town.
Disadvantages of a Virtual Office
While there are many benefits to using a virtual office for your business, there are some potential challenges to consider before signing on to this arrangement.
Potential Scheduling Conflicts.
By not selecting a reputable virtual office provider, you may run into scheduling issues when it comes to reserving meeting rooms and private office spaces. To avoid scheduling conflicts, be sure to select a virtual office provider with office and meeting spaces located in buildings in various locations. With more options available, there is a lower risk of not having office or meeting rooms when needed. Further, choose a provider that allows you to make reservations online, giving you the freedom and flexibility to book spaces as needed.
If you’re coming into town and planning to use a private office or meeting room through your virtual office arrangement, you may have limited access during evenings and on weekends. To avoid this major inconvenience, be sure to select a virtual office provider that allows for 24/7 office access so you can work when needed.